Thursday, 23 February 2012

20,000 Page Views

Another milestone has been hit on the blog. A year or two back the hit counter was hovering around the 3-4,000 mark and I never really saw it growing that quickly, so thank you very much to my readers and followers.
I haven't been up to much in the last week or two gaming wise as it has been full on at home and work, along with all that entails. I did manage to order up some plastic LotR Easterling Kataphracts, one of the new source books "The Kingdoms of Men" and a new can of Army Painter spray matt varnish. This varnish should now encourage me to get a move on with some of the outstanding minis on my work table, and move onto more of the back log. It should hopefully get me back in the groove to finish my Rohan army - 24 Riders and 36 Warriors have been completed - just the elites, captains and heroes to go now. I will then probably match them up with the Easterlings I have from GW and EBob's Balchoth. A big stack of orcs to bolster their numbers should also do the trick.

I will be taking a trip to GW this weekend to pick up a few more paints that have either run out, dried up or been watered down too much to be useful any more. I should then be able to get onto those Chronicle Hobgoblins I undercoated and based a few weeks back.

Actually, one thing I did manage to do last weekend was roll up a few AD&D characters - just the bare bones mind, so this weekend I may flesh them out wiht names an dsome basic equipment. I like to play low level adventures with poorly equipped characters, as it makes it more of a challenge and more fun in my mind. I compensate for the lack of armour etc at 1st level by allowing characters to have maximum Hit Points by class and Con bonus. They tend to last a little longer and it allows them to scavenge the armour and weapons needed to progress further. I will play some solo adventures with these characters in order to get the feel back for AD&D in general, as my grasp of the combat system etc. in particular is very rusty.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The Village of Hommlet - Map

It took me a while, but here is the final version of the Hommlet map I have been working on recently. I have been working on it in one or two hour stints over the last few weeks (but not every day).

I wanted to remove the grid lines and represent the village as is. I will next be working on getting it ready for my campaign world, along with a few other maps of the environs. I may also pep up the plans and pictures of the main encounter areas.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Miniature Wargames 347

I was weak. The lure of wargaming crack brought me back to the shops to get my next fix. I sold the house, the car, the kids... After overdosing over the last few weeks I succumbed and bought the next MW on a whim rather than my usual calculated skim through.

Used without permission - Atlantic Publishers

Still, it actually turned out to be an OK issue with plenty for my tastes...

pp08-10 - MW Readers Survey - the hobby is in reasonable shape and my fave 'periods' take up three of the top six slots and are on the rise.
pp12-16 - Modern urban gaming - brings back memories of Saturday nights out in Woolwich in the 1980s
pp18-23 - Romans north of The Wall
pp50-54 - Darker Horizons (Sci-Fant column)
pp56-58 - How to build a Greek Temple

Along with even more Zulu stuff, ACW and WW2 it was quite a packed magazine this month. It seems to have been released hot on the heels of the previous issue, so I think Atlantic are really getting things ready for the 3rd quarter release of the stand alone Darker Horizons magazine.

Back to the painting bench...
I have been a bit lazy over the last few days. I haven't been feeling too good (some sort of headache/dizziness bug), so I have been neglecting the brushes. I have a stack of stuff undercoated which I will get onto very soon, and I just need a bit of highlighting to be done on those Splintered Lands minis.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

HotT - Barbarian Archers

Here is another stand for my Hordes of the Things Barbarian army; a stand of archers...

They are part of the Dark Age range from  Heroes of the Dark Ages  . I have a few of their figures (the general's stand is also from their miniatures range) and think they are quite nice, especially so considering they are so cheap too!

My barbarian army now has almost been completed, so now I need to work on the Dwarfs or the Goblins & Orcs to go up against them, or Alex needs to get a move on with his Elves. I have some GW plastic Night Goblins and Goblins to add to that particular army, but need to find some more Dwarfs from somewhere; I do not like the 'stunty' (or space hoppers with feet) approach to Dwarfs that GW seems to favour.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Romano-British Archers - part deux

I managed to finish these chaps off over the weekend and this evening...

They are the last of the Gripping Beast Arthurian archers I picked up at Salute last year. My post-Roman force is now quite respectable but just needs a few more adding to it to round it off.

I have a pile of heavy armoured chaps to paint and will most likely grab a few extras like a personality leader or two, a sorceror an dmaybe some slingers if GB do them (I will need to check their catalogue).

These Romano-Brit figures have actually seen the most action out of all the ones I have painted up since starting this blog. They have been played in two Brytenwalda face offs with Alex, and four SoBH match ups against Dunc. I sure hope they will see the light of day more often this year, along with more of my armies.

Next up should be a few barbarian archers for my HotT Barbarian army. I also have those Chronicle Hobgoblins to undercoat (bases have been stuck on) and a big stack of Norman cavalry. Hmm, maybe a match up between the hobgoblins and Dunc's Anglo-Saxons might go down well.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

This month's wargames magazines

I don't usually pick up that many magazines, but this month wound up being a bit different to normal. I bought four of the usual suspects. I am aware there are others out there, but as I generally only pick them up in WH Smith or direct from GW then these are the only ones available to me. As seen in a previous post, I picked up White Dwarf, but I also decided to take a look at three of the other big names...

Miniature Wargames 346

This is my favourite of the main magazines, mainly because it caters more to my tastes than the others (namely: fantasy/sci-fi, ancients and early medieval). The others are as good if not better quality wise but it is purely the sci-fant content that nudges this one ahead. Good news is that they will be releasing a sci-fant only magazine called Darker Horizons (following on from Gary Mitchell's monthly column in the magazine). I bought the one they released last year and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Carrying on from the White Dwarf format of write-up below, this month's issue tickles my taste buds with:
pp12-15 - The Battle of Celidon (Arthur's 7th battle)
pp16-19 - 2nd Battle of St Albans (War of the Roses)
pp50-54 - Darker Horizons (Sci-fant stuff)
pp56-59 - Building an Elf Watchtower

Wargames Illustrated 292

This magazine has a more practical format than the other two (the magazines can be stacked more easily either flat or vertically due to the binding). However, they refuse to cover sci-fant which marks them down a little for me. That said, their production values are great and I prefer the 'feel' of this magazine to the rest, although their being tied to a particular game system (Flames of War) means that, for me, there are too many articles based on that system which makes me hark back to when White Dwarf was on its way to becoming the house magazine we all love today.

These are the articles that caught my eye this month...
pp102-103 - The Saxon Shore (campaign based wargames for the day)
The Zulu theme this month was very interesting and could easily be used for my favoured periods. Lots of conversion potential here.

Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy 58

This has recently been relaunched and production values have risen considerably. It has a nice glossy feel, even though it is printed in a matt style. They usually have plenty of different articles each month, so there is always something for everyone, but recently they have been themeing (sp?) the issues which has cut down a little on the variety.

This month's issue had articles on:
pp62-65 - Chase some Booty (Saxon vs Viking scenario)
pp66-69 - Sine Missio - WAB house rules for Gladiators
pp74-75 - Up Front (column on the way in which trade show games are changing)
This was another Zulu themed magazine, so it was a bit overkill having two magazines which followed the same theme. This would make me more than happy if all the magazines catered purely to my tastes: three magazines solely written for sci-fant, Dark Ages, Medieval etc would be a dream. However, a sneak peek in WH Smiths has generally driven my purchasing (this month excluded), so I only pick them up if they have approximately 1/3 of their content devoted to my periods.

All three magazines also run their own take on product reviews, which I find are very useful. They also have their own columns, some good and some not so, but my favourites change each month as they are eclectic in nature and this appeals to me.

This entry has really been more to take into account my own thoughts on these three (four if you include White Dwarf) magazines and give an insight into what and why I buy these products. I guess I buy them all on average two or three times a year, but nearly always get one magazine a month, just to keep up to date if nothing else. I also pick up a few of the free online pdf style magazines that are doing the rounds, for example The Ancible and Mongoose's magazines. These are mainly just for ideas as I don't play any of Mongoose's systems, but they keep the grey matter ticking over.

What do I miss from the olden days when I first started buying magazines of this nature? My all time favourite magazine has to be early days White Dwarf before it became a house magazine for Games Workshop products. There were the usual reviews and what not, but where modern magazines seem to run battle reports (which in my mind is cheap magazine content) the older sci-fant magazines would give loads of scenario ideas, modules etc aimed at loads of different gaming systems. These were looked forward to each month and many of the adventures and games published were played or adapted in one form or another. Another magazine I enjoyed was Imagine; the in-house TSR magazine for UK D&D players. Again, the same format as White Dwarf but limited to TSR games.

It would be nice to see Atlantic Publishing's Darker Horizons take on some of the format of the old White Dwarf, but I am just glad sci-fant is gaining in popularity with the mailstream again.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

White Dwarf 386 - February 2012

I thought I would do a quick run down of what is included in this month's White Dwarf. As I have little interest in Warhammer or 40K, I will limit those entries and concentrate more on the Lord of the Rings stuff - the reason I bought the magazine...

Picture courtesy of Games Workshop

A fairly large part of the magazine is made up of the usual store locators, hobby news, new releases etc., but the Lord of the Rings stuff is as follows...
pp02-07 - A (re-)introduction to the Strategy Battle Game
pp07-16 - All the new releases for the game; including new figures, rule books etc
pp24-31 - Scenario that involves lots of the new figures
pp33-45 - A run through the new books that are released this month
pp46-53 - Battle Report involving Easterlings versus Gondor
pp54-55 - A listing of the plastic box sets of figures - you now only get 1 sprue for £12 - hmm, :-(
pp76-80 - Army Workshop for Easterlings (painting guides, army builder etc)

pp58-75 - Warhammer Civil War, Necrons and Vampire Counts stuff

The last 60 odd pages are inverted - Warhammer 40K potted history (its the 25th anniversary apparently)

So, you get a fair few pages this month for your money which, to me, almost makes it worth the cover price. Luckily Alex also reads the Warhamme rand 40K stuff, so that means this was actually not bad value. Ordinarily there are only usually half-a-dozen pages of Lord of the Rings in the magazine, so I rarely buy it. The next few issues may be worthwhile, provided they stay on the LotR theme, but I think I'll skim through them before purchasing.

What did I take away from this? Well, I have ordered the plastic Easterling Kataphracts and one of the source books (Kingdom of Men - for Rohan especially) from Maelstrom Games as they are around 15% cheaper than GW direct. This should give my fledgling Easterling army a much needed boost. I am tempted by the Easterling leader types but they are in Fine Cast resin. I have heard lots of horror stories about their quality, and the one encounter we have had with them (Alex's Space Marine unit) showed us a miscast shoulder pad. If that is normal for casting defects, then count me out - I want them to be perfect if I am to pay the best part of 8 quid per figure.